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  Metros   Mumbai  13 Dec 2017  Irrigation scam: ACB registers 4 FIRs

Irrigation scam: ACB registers 4 FIRs

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 13, 2017, 2:51 am IST
Updated : Dec 13, 2017, 2:51 am IST

Huge blow for NCP, babus involved in Gosikhurd project.

Ajit Pawar
 Ajit Pawar

Mumbai: In a major setback to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and particularly to its leaders Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday registered FIRs against irrigation department officials and contractors in connection with alleged irregularities in the four contracts of the Gosikhurd irrigation project.

The four FIRs were registered at Sadar police station in Nagpur against the then-engineer and divisional accounts officer besides several other officials of the irrigation department.

The development comes close on the heels of the winter state assembly sessions that began in Nagpur on Monday.

Mr Pawar and Mr Tatkare have faced allegations of corruptions in irrigation contracts when they were at the helm of the department.

The irrigation project in the Godavari river basin, eastern Maharashtra's Bhandardara region has been mired in controversies. Officials said that the action comes in the backdrop of an open inquiry conducted by the ACB following an order of the state government.

The corruption pertains to irregularities in the tendering process for undertaking the project, inflating the budget and disbursal of funds for the same, ACB officials said. Contracts for the same were issued under the Vidarbha irrigation development corporation (VIDC). The inquiry conducted by ACB revealed that the contracts were awarded to the entities that lacked the capability and eligibility for handling such projects.

“Similar irregularities were found at the Mokhaburdi irrigation project, Chikhlapar, Gosikhurdh Left Bank Canal construction work, Mokhaburdi Lift Irrigation Branch Canal project and Gosikhurdh Right Bank Canal project at Jhodjhari,” stated a release issued by the ACB following the registration of criminal cases.

Earlier, the Nagpur police had registered two cases against nine officials of the irrigation department including four retired staffers in May. The quantum of corruption was to the tune of Rs 23.31 crore under alleged Gosikhurd irrigation project scam, as per the FIR.

The release stated that those named in the cases include four contractors who were involved in the project. Gosikhurd is the inter-district irrigation project in Vidarbha which was approved in March 1983-at an estimated cost of Rs 372.22 crore and was expected to be completed by March 1990. However, it remains incomplete even after 33 years after the approvals were granted.

During the period, the project cost allegedly escalated several times. In 2016, ACB had filed a chargesheet in Nagpur court against six former officials in for their roles in the alleged fraud in the inter-district irrigation project.

Tags: ajit pawar, sunil tatkare, irrigation scam